Waiting for trout season? Yes, because then spring is here, for real! Because the river runs through it... through the woods, through the meadow, under the bridge, through the pines, over the rocks, skipping along with a gurgle and a chuckle as it winds its way seaward. Because there is in many a heart, the wild, sharp thrill of a small boy who used to be. The one that could don rubber boots, sans socks, ragged trousers and a denim jacket and head out the door. The one who would pick up a rusty tackle box and a duc-taped together pole and a can of worms that he had dug by the light of the moon and stashed under the porch. The one who went whistling up the hill and over the bank and spent an April day fishing. God bless the ones of us who never lose that heart and mind! The ones who come home skunked, but happy, because they had one on. It got away, but it gave a good fight. The ones that come back with a stringer full, slimy, glossy and flopping. Yes, the ones that dump those in your sink, and clean 'em. The ones that leave a bit of a mess for you to clean up. BUT... But, then, you have trout for supper! Fresh trout. Fresh,clean pure trout from fresh, clean pure hearted fishermen.
You had packed that fisherman a lunch, of course, so he's not starving. He can wait a smidgen for someone to cook for him. In the fourteenth century, BC, Archestratus instructs us this way. " Place your fish tenderly in leaves. Tie it up, and push it under hot ashes, bethinking wisely of the time, when it is done, and burn it not up." So thats pretty simple. Here's how I do it:
(It helps to have a boy who's not afraid of blood and guts.) When the trout is cleaned , I cut off the head and tail, so it will fit nicely in the pan. Then I butterfly it. Cut sraight down the middle, so it will lie flat. Now get a cast iron skillet smoking hot. Smoking hot, so when you drop in a big dab of butter it smokes and browns nicely.Then lay the fish, skin side down in the smoking butter. Sprinkle liberally with salt, and smokehouse pepper. Cover the skillet and cook about five minutes. If it is ready, it will flake easily with a fork. At this point, you can lift the whole backbone right off, so you have a boneless filet.
Turn on your broiler. Brush the top of the fish with a little cream, and sprinkle with fine Ritz crumbs. Take the whole skillet and put it under the broiler, just until the crumb topping is nice and brown. There. You are done!
Enjoy. There not much finer eating than this. Need dessert? How about warm caramel
apple cake? Crusty and cinnamony on the edges, gooey caramel appley in the middle, whipped cream melting over the top...
Can a rich man dine better than that? I think not!